I gave up my car five years ago, around the time I learned that for every mile driven by the average American car, one pound of CO2 is released into the atmosphere. CO2 is one of the greenhouse gases responsible for fueling climate change and I just couldn’t justify adding 12 pounds to the atmosphere every day I drove to the work. So out went the car, in came the bus, train and…gulp…a bike.
I happen to live near Chicago’s lakeshore path, an uninterrupted running and biking path that hugs Lake Michigan and allows for car-free commutes and recreation. The path swings by Shedd and the aquarium has bike racks and showers for employees who choose to pedal to work. I will admit, though, I was intimidated at first. I thought bringing a change of clothes to work would be cumbersome, that I would be sweaty and disheveled all day, or that I would be run over by a spandex-clad biker while nervously navigating the path. Turns out, biking to and from work makes for a fun, easy and much faster commute! I energize along the quiet morning path, grabbing as much sunshine and fresh air as I can before spending the day in the office. My 30-minute ride isn’t long enough to turn me into a sweat hog and my clothes easily tuck into the milk crate over my back wheel. Rather than spend my ride home in traffic, I fly by the rush hour jams and arrive home relaxed and rejuvenated for the evening ahead. In all, not only do I dedicate less of my day to work due to the shorter commutes, but I also get in an hour of exercise!
If biking is an option for your commute or errands, give it a try! Check out the Active Transportation Alliance website for tips on safe biking or search for a “bike federation” to find an organization near you.
Michelle Jost, conservation